California’s proposed rule that a driverless vehicle must contain a steering wheel and a brake pedal for emergencies, goes against the grain of the technology industry that has been leading the development of these vehicles and cannot imagine a situation where the specified equipment would be necessary. It is akin to the continued existence of the emergency brake, a seldom used feature on a car, or directional signals, which many people seem to consider as unnecessary. The mandated equipment will certainly alter a passenger’s experience from that of a 21st Century, space-age vehicle to merely being a passenger riding in a modern automobile.
Stretching out the transition time to a totally driverless vehicle fleet will also delay some of the anticipated economic and energy benefits envisioned. The world of a complete fleet of autonomous vehicles would allow them to be smaller and lighter, reducing the energy needed to produce them and power them. The absence of accidents would reduce the economic impact of injuries, physical damage and deaths, along with limiting or even ending the need for personal automobile insurance and the costs of accident litigation. If driverless vehicles could operate without human drivers, many families might also eliminate the need for second or third cars by being able to overlap their use of one vehicle, even though it would mean that vehicle would drive considerably more miles per year than the typical family’s current vehicles do. Net-net there should be an energy savings. Lastly, fewer vehicles would mean less need for expanded highways and parking spaces, freeing up urban land for alternative uses. California’s stance on driverless vehicles would seem to be slowing down the shift to our transportation nirvana and actually extending the petroleum age.
Here is a link to the full report.
California’s laws on what need to be inside an autonomous vehicle, including a driver for example, are likely to represent a brake on the sector’s progress. However as anyone who actually drives a car knows there is a difference between what the law says and what the experience of driving is.
Warren Buffett was recently cited as saying that one of the reasons insurance premia have risen is because so many people text while driving. If a driver has to be to behind the wheel of an autonomous vehicle that practice would at least be safer. That may put Tesla’s vision autonomous vehicles ahead of Google’s.
Tesla has been rangebound since it announced plans to build an expensive battery factory but continues to hold above $200 and a sustained move below that level would be required to question medium-term scope for additional higher to lateral ranging.
Google/Alphabet has been ranging below $800 since early November and a sustained move below $700 would be required to begin to question medium-term uptrend consistency.
Nissan which competes in electric cars with its Leaf and has also announced a plan for autonomous vehicles. The share has been trending higher in a volatile manner since 2009. It bounced from the region of the 200-day MA over the last two weeks and a sustained move below it would be required to question potential for additional upside.